Vanderbilt’s Johnson: Football ‘consumes your life’

Bobby Johnson didn’t resign as Vanderbilt’s head coach after all.

He retired instead.

Less than two months before the Commodores begin their 2010 campaign at home against Northwestern, Johnson walked away from the coaching profession with Vanderbilt a stronger program than when he arrived.

“I’ve decided to retire, not resign,” Johnson said. “It is a tough decision with which my wife Catherine and I struggle. This is a personal decision. It’s about what we want to do with our lives.

“I want to thank the hundreds of young men who accepted the challenge of pursuing one of the greatest educations in the country. In my opinion, a coach could not ask of any more from his players.”

Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell was named interim coach, with Johnson’s retirement effective at the end of the month.

“This is a sad day, but a happy time for me,” Caldwell said. “I’ve worked a long time to work as a loyal assistant. College football is losing a great man today.”

While he stated that there isn’t a right time for any college coach to retire, Johnson’s departure comes with Vandy's first practice just 23 days away.

The 59-year-old led Vandy since 2002 and will finish his career in Nashville with a 29-66 mark. However, he oversaw a Commodores resurgence that saw them earn their first bowl win in 53 years in 2008 when they defeated Boston College in the Music City Bowl. Johnson was named SEC Coach of the Year that season.

However, the Commodores slipped to 2-10 last season, including 0-8 in the SEC.

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